U.S. Governors’ Spouses Sign On as “Reading Ambassadors” to Encourage Kids to Read Every Day this Summer

Joining the Scholastic Summer Challenge, Governors’ Spouses host reading events
in their states to promote the importance of summer reading; Scholastic donates books on their behalf


New York, NY—May 22, 2012— To help students avoid the “summer slide”—the learning loss which can occur over summer break—48 U.S. Governors’ Spouses, plus the Governors of Illinois, Vermont, and Arizona, have signed on as “Reading Ambassadors” of the 6th annual Scholastic Summer Challenge, a free program dedicated to keeping kids motivated to read every day during the summer months. The Reading Ambassadors are an integral part of the program, each having pledged to reinforce the importance of summer reading, and the majority having committed to hold summer reading events at a local school or library in their state.

According to studies conducted by Dr. Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen of the University of Tennessee, “We now have good research evidence that making books available that kids want to read and that they can read accurately, largely solves the problem on getting kids to read voluntarily.” To help more kids have access to books they will love to read this summer, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, will donate 500 books to the school of the Reading Ambassador’s choice in support of their participation in the Summer Challenge, for a total donation of 25,500 new books.  

“Children reading—or parents reading to, and with, children—is the single most important activity to develop knowledge, skills, and comprehension,” said Sally Ganem, a former principal and current First Lady of Nebraska and Chairwoman of the Spouses’ Leadership Committee for the National Governors Association. “Reading is enjoyable, develops closer bonds with parents, and expands the mind beyond our own world.” 


The Governors and Governors’ Spouses participating in the 2012 Scholastic Summer Challenge to date are:


  • Alabama – First Lady Dianne Bentley
  • Alaska – First Lady Sandy Parnell
  • American Samoa – First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono
  • Arizona – Governor Jan Brewer
  • Arkansas – First Lady Ginger Beebe
  • California – First Lady Anne Brown
  • Colorado – First Lady Helen Thorpe
  • Connecticut – First Lady Cathy Malloy
  • Delaware – First Lady Carla Markell
  • Florida – First Lady Ann Scott
  • Georgia – First Lady Sandra Deal
  • Guam – First Lady Christine Calvo
  • Hawaii – First Lady Dr. Nancie Caraway
  • Idaho – First Lady Lori Otter
  • Illinois – Governor Pat Quinn
  • Indiana – First Lady Cheri Daniels
  • Iowa – First Lady Christine Branstad
  • Kansas – First Lady Mary Brownback
  • Kentucky – First Lady Jane Beshear
  • Louisiana – First Lady Supriya Jindal
  • Maine – First Lady Ann LePage
  • Maryland – First Lady Katie O’Malley
  • Massachusetts – First Lady Diane Patrick
  • Michigan – First Lady Sue Snyder
  • Mississippi – First Lady Deborah Bryant
  • Missouri – First Lady Georganne Nixon
  • Montana – First Lady Nancy Schweitzer
  • Nebraska – First Lady Sally Ganem
  • Nevada – First Lady Kathleen Sandoval
  • New Hampshire – First Lady Dr. Susan Lynch
  • New Jersey – First Lady Mary Pat Christie
  • New Mexico – First Gentleman Chuck Franco
  • North Carolina – First Gentleman Bob Eaves
  • North Dakota – First Lady Betsy Dalrymple
  • Ohio – First Lady Karen Kasich
  • Oklahoma – First Gentleman Wade Christensen
  • Pennsylvania – First Lady Susan Corbett
  • Puerto Rico – First Lady Luce Vela
  • Rhode Island – First Lady Stephanie Chafee
  • South Carolina – First Gentleman Michael Haley
  • South Dakota – First Lady Linda Daugaard
  • St. Thomas Virgin Islands – First Lady Cecile deJongh
  • Tennessee – First Lady Crissy Haslam
  • Texas – First Lady Anita Perry
  • Utah – First Lady Jeanette Herbert
  • Vermont – Governor Peter Shumlin
  • Virginia – First Lady Maureen McDonnell
  • Washington – First Gentleman Mike Gregoire
  • West Virginia – First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin
  • Wisconsin – First Lady Tonette Walker
  • Wyoming – First Lady Carol Mead


“Scholastic is grateful for the continued support of these state leaders in the 2012 Scholastic Summer Challenge,” said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. “Reading Ambassadors have played a vital role in spreading the word to families all across the country about the importance of summer reading so students are prepared when they return to school in the fall.”

As part of the Scholastic Summer Challenge, kids “Read for the World Record” by logging their minutes online at www.scholastic.com/summer or using the Scholastic Reading Timer smartphone app. The top 20 schools with the most reading minutes logged will be featured in the 2013 edition of the Scholastic Book of World Records.  Last summer’s record was set at 64,213,141 minutes, but current student readers are already on their way to breaking that record with more than 19 million minutes read to date (program ends August 31st).  Logging minutes also allows students to participate in weekly challenges, earn digital rewards, and enter sweepstakes for the chance to win fun book-related prizes.

For more information about Scholastic, please visit our media room.


Lia Zneimer


(212) 343-6901



Sara Sinek


(212) 343-6899